Act 13 Lawsuit Plaintiffs Seek Injunction to Stop Law Now

The plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last week seeking to overturn PA’s newly adopted Act 13 law that overrides local municipal zoning ordinances of the oil and gas industry, filed a motion yesterday asking the court for an injunction to prevent the new law from going into effect on April 14.

The request was filed in Commonwealth Court. Cecil, Robinson, Peters and Mount Pleasant townships are among the parties in the suit. They contend the law is unconstitutional.

The motion seeking for an injunction asks that a hearing take place next week. However, "the court will be making a ruling on its timetable," said John Smith, the solicitor for both Cecil and Robinson townships. "We are hoping for a ruling and a date as soon as possible."

One of the arguments made in the motion is that the oil and gas industry is "attempting to bully and strong-arm local elected officials to basically invalidate existing zoning regulations and operate with no zoning on this issue whatsoever on the effective date." It cites a request by MarkWest Liberty Midstream and Resources that it be issued a permit April 14 to build a natural gas compressor station in Cecil Township because it would be allowed under Act 13.*

The plaintiffs include seven municipalities: Cecil, Peters, Mt. Pleasant, and Robinson (Washington County); South Fayette (Allegheny County); Yardley and Nockamixon (Bucks County). Also suing are Mehernosh Khan (a Monroeville doctor), environmental activists from the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and a handful of municipal officials.

*Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter (Apr 4, 2012) – Plantiffs push for law delay